“You’ll never amount to anything” were the words spoken over Judy Hoberman throughout her youth. After telling her dad that she wanted to go to medical school to become a doctor, he took that information and instead enrolled her into a beauty contest, telling her “You have to win because all you are is pretty and you’ll never amount to anything else.”
Over the course of her career, Arwen was constantly striving to fit in with the boys – including her husband. She would ask herself “Am I not good enough?” However, she eventually realized that she didn’t have to fit in, in order to be herself.
Then she met Judy Hoberman. Judy has spent much of her career shedding light on the differences between men and women in business. Men and women lead, sell, and manage very differently, and Judy empowers both of them to better support each other in more productive ways. She’s a TEDx speaker, the author of multiple books, and an authority on women and leadership who has spoken to audiences of over 10,000.
Today, Judy joins the podcast to talk about the negative, life-altering messages we face as women – and how we can get past them once and for all.
Overcomer Playlist Recommendation
Pearls of Wisdom
- Why you should be generous with your time – and always kind.
- How to understand what your value is, what you really deserve, and never apologize for it.
- Why everyone needs a mentor.
Tweetables“I encourage people to fail because, for me, failure is not negative.” - @SellingInASkirt Click To Tweet “Women want to be treated equally, not identically.” - @SellingInASkirt Click To Tweet “The faster you can fail, the better because you're going to have to get there one way or another.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “Failure is not negative. It’s a first attempt in learning and I believe that if you don't learn from everything you've done, good and bad, then that's a waste of time.” - @SellingInASkirt Click To Tweet
- Selling in a Skirt
- Walking on the Glass Floor: Seven Essential Qualities of Women Who Lead
- The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
- She Handled It, So Can You!: An Inspiring and Empowering Financial Guide for Women
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Connect with Arwen Becker
I unenrolled myself because I thought this is not for me. Because I always thought I was like Gidget-cute, but not beautiful. Anyway, so he re-enrolled me, I unenrolled me, and we went back and forth. And finally, he sat me down and he said to me, "Listen to me carefully, you have to enter this beauty contest and you have to win because all you are is pretty and you'll never amount to anything else.”
I recall this time in the not too distant past where I was running behind my boys to one of the local parks around our house so we could hang out. They both went ahead on their scooters and I arrived, of course, by foot just a few minutes behind them. And when I got to the park, I continued to run around this concrete track and I noticed that one of them had left their scooters in the middle of the road. So, I figured I'd enjoy an easy ride to the bottom of this gradual hill and I meet up with them at that point. It should be pretty fun. So, in my Lululemon running pants and my long sleeve shirt, I stepped on the scooter and I began making my way down this hill.
Not much more than about a second later, the thought passed through my mind, “What if I crash?” And less than an additional second following that thought, the handlebars began to wobble and I found myself uncontrollably flying over this scooter and crashing, skidding, of course, directly in the middle of the three-foot-wide segment of concrete. Both my boys off in the distance on a play structure just sat and watched in horror. And so, I laid on this small patch of concrete with, of course, vast open spaces of grass on both sides of me. And my kids were yelling to me, “Mom, are you okay?” As they are running up to me, “Mom, are you okay?” And I just laid there in silence. Part of me didn't of course want to move because I just was afraid that I had injuries worse than I expected. But there was this other part of me that was just praying nobody else saw it and I didn't want to move because spectators might not notice me. And so, as Easton and Ashton made their way over to me, I began to take physical inventory of my body, mainly all the areas I had a road rash.
And I certainly was most grateful because I didn't break anything but the Lululemon fabric on my right outer thigh fared way better than this 6x4-inch patch of skin underneath it. It was disgusting. And I realized through the scrapes and the bruises that I got that day, first of all, I was going to be okay and it didn't require an emergency room visit. Thank God for that. But I began to wonder what happened? And as I thought through that, there were really two lessons that I learned that day. One, I still have this piece inside of me to compete with those around me and to prove to other people that I could do exactly as they could do. But number two and certainly more important is thoughts dictate where you go. And I am quite sure that day if I would have focused on the joy of going down this quick little hill and believing, truly believing that I could, the outcome would have been very different than when I began to think those negative and fear-filled thoughts, those defeating thoughts that I had, that caused my body to follow.
And as I continue to get older and into my most recent years as a female financial advisor in a very male-dominated industry, I really found myself constantly striving to fit in with the boys. And I've included my husband who's in this industry as well. But I realized I don't have to in order to really be me, and to do me well, right? You know, there's been numerous times that I've been sort of patronized, not intentionally, but by other advisors where they would kind of comment like, “Oh, it's great that you serve that little niche,” kind of is like, "Oh, that cute little niche.” That's the way it felt at least because I serve women and doing women's events about money. But then having moments where men were chosen to train on how to give these women's events instead of me, which just added to that question of, "Am I not good enough?”
The first time that I spoke with Judy Hoberman, it was on her radio show and I knew me and this woman, we were kindred spirits. Here is a gal who has spent much of her career bringing to light the differences between men and women and how they perform in business. Men and women lead, they sell, they manage very differently. And Judy is a master at improving performance and company culture, empowering both genders so that they better support each other's success in more productive ways. Judy Hoberman is an award-winning international TEDx talk speaker, best-selling author of multiple books, trainer, and she is a leading authority on women and leadership. She has over three decades in business. She must have started when she was about 10, I think. She has combined wisdom and humor with these behavior-shaping insights that have impacted audiences of over 10,000 and then she also works with small groups and individuals through her one-on-one executive coaching and mentorship.
This woman is a powerhouse, brilliant, hardworking, successful, and a woman who was told by her father and many around her that she wasn't smart, and she wasn't good enough. So, we're going to talk about those negative and life-altering messages and how she got past them.
Arwen Becker: Judy, I am so happy to have you on my show today. Thank you so much for coming on.
Judy Hoberman: I am so excited to be here. You have no idea. I loved your story. I can relate to many parts of it, but not the whole thing. I can just picture you going down and saying, “Oh my God, what did I do?” And that's how we do it. That's what we all do in businesses is, “Oh my God, what did I do?” And you just try to figure out, let me re-navigate and create this new journey for myself.
Arwen Becker: Isn't that so true? And you know what, I have been so blessed by knowing you even in the short period of time that we have known one another. You are one of the most expert and brilliant connectors of women from all different areas of study and background that I probably have ever met in my life. Really, I mean, that's so true. You have such a heart for making sure women feel empowered in whatever industry they're in. So, I just thank you so much for providing space for all of us.
Judy Hoberman: Well, it's my absolute pleasure and that if I could do that every single minute of the day, my world would be complete.
Arwen Becker: I believe that. So, you and I talked a little bit but why don't you take us back to this time period in growing up? Maybe you could tell a little bit about what that relationship with your dad was like, and really, how did that impact you as you continue to grow?
Judy Hoberman: So, a wise woman told me that if you go back and you think when you're five or six, somewhere over there, something has happened in your life that brought you to where you are today. And so, I really thought about that. And I remember growing up, I grew up in New York, and I was in the backyard and that backyard was not grass and trees. It was cement. And my brothers were building a go-kart and I wanted to know how this thing worked just like you with the scooter. So, I'm watching and watching and my father takes me by the ponytail and pulls me up and says, "Girls don't do this.” And so, I walked away and then he walked away. And of course, I came back and I'm watching, watching, watching, and I felt the ponytail again and he said, "Girls don't do this.” So, the third time it happened, I was like right in there because I wanted to see how the hammer and the nails are working and all this stuff and I got the hammer in my cheek just because I was way too close. And I knew how much it hurt because it really did but all I kept thinking was what he's going to say to me next is going to hurt worse.
And so, he pulls me aside. He didn't say, "You okay?” He said, “You waste everybody's time. You always have to ask so many questions and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and he went on and on and on. So, that was when I was five and six. So, now this continued and it wasn't bad all the time. It really wasn't. But when I was graduating high school, I remember telling my parents I wanted to go to medical school. And of course, my father just rolled his eyes. Right before graduation, at the breakfast table, there was this really pretty envelope with ribbons and bows and all kinds of stuff waiting for me at my seat. And so, I opened it up and I'm a perfect child. I don't rip the paper apart. I carefully undo everything. And I'm reading what's inside, and it's telling me it's congratulating me for being entered into a beauty contest. And I thought, "Where did that come from?” And so, when I read it further, it was from my father. And so, I just thought, "You know, what is he talking about? I wanted to go to medical school.”
And so, I unenrolled myself because I thought this is not for me. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but it wasn't me. Because I always thought I was like Gidget-cute, but not beautiful. Anyway, so he re-enrolled me, I unenrolled me, and we went back and forth. And finally, he sat me down and he said to me, "Listen to me carefully, you have to enter this beauty contest and you have to win because all you are is pretty and you'll never amount to anything else.”
Arwen Becker: Wow. Oh my gosh.
Judy Hoberman: Okay. So, the first time I told this story out loud was at my TED Talk. So, imagine the reaction. I mean, you could hear the air sucked out of the room. And so, I said that a lot of times you have these tapes in your head and you get to a point in your life where you figure, "Okay. I'm doing some great things and whatever,” but I couldn't lose it because every time I'd walk on a stage or every time I stand in front of a group, I would hear, "You're never going to amount to anything.” And so, I had to do like affirmations and I had to rewind tapes and everything. So, today I can tell the story and I don't burst into tears but let me just say, I mean, I still feel it so you’re not good enough and you're not strong enough and all you are is pretty.
Arwen Becker: And it's amazing how that story enters into every other area of life.
Judy Hoberman: Yes. And at the most inopportune times, by the way.
Arwen Becker: Right. It is interesting. That's the part that I love about talking to women like you who have overcome these just like what we're talking about today. You know, there is that point where when we've adequately done the work as you obviously have, in overcoming that, we can tell the story kind of like of a person we used to know and it doesn't hold the power that it used to. But goodness, if it doesn't, especially as a parent speak to you as to really be aware of the words you speak to your children, and how significant of an impact that can have on them for their entire life. You know what I’m saying?
Judy Hoberman: Absolutely. I watch parents say things to their kids and I cringe because you can't tell someone how to parent. You really can't. But there are other ways of saying things because when you talk about what they look like physically, it'll never, never leave you. Never. Whether you're too pretty or you're not pretty enough or you're tall, you're short, you're fat or you’re thin, or whatever it is, that's going to stay with you, the same way when parents tell their children that they're stupid or that they're like a book nerd or whatever. Why are we saying this? Why don't you encourage people? That's the part that I still just can't get a handle on it.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. It's really amazing how those things affect us long-term. So, when you think about when you look back to, okay, so you wanted to go to medical school. Did you?
Judy Hoberman: No, no, no. Because at that point he was so fed up with me and we had five kids in the family and he told us all that we can go to college but we had to go to a free school. It can't cost anything because he wasn't going to pay for it. And at that time, in New York, we had all the different city colleges and the different boroughs and whatever. And they were free if you were a resident, and so I was going to Queens College and I was very excited about Queens and so on but I remember the first day coming home and saying that I needed $125 for books. And he looked at me and he said, "When I said free, I meant free.” And so, I always worked anyway, but that's where my paycheck went to was to buy my books. So, it didn't matter what it was. It was always something. It was always something that I didn't do right. That's just my life. That was my life.
Arwen Becker: When did you finally start coming out from underneath that feeling?
Judy Hoberman: Oh, geez Louise, it was probably decades later when I realized, “Well, I would say probably when I had my children because I realized how much they depended on me to survive. At one point, I mean, I was a single mom for 19 years and my job was to protect my children and there was no way that I was going to do anything to hurt them. And I remember one time I said to one of my kids that I was disappointed and this gigantic child just crawled up into a ball and said, "Be mad at me. Just don't ever be disappointed in me.” So, I took the word “disappoint” out of my vocabulary because who knew that “disappointed” was worse than being mad? So, I was very careful, very careful because I would never want to hurt my children. I'm the same way with people. I don't ever say anything that would hurt someone because it's not worth it. You don't know when the last time they heard something kind and you don't know if that's their whole life. And because it was mine, I was very careful.
But I think when I had my kids, I realized that I am something. I am pretty good. I'm a great mom. If nothing else, I was a great mom. So, that was a turning point for me. But I will tell you what you said about the TED talk, I had to change the pronoun. I couldn't say it was me because I couldn't get it out. I said it was somebody that I knew. So, when you said that, I was like, “Whew. Yeah.”
Arwen Becker: Isn't that so? Interesting. So, you didn't go to medical school. So, what did you end up going into?
Judy Hoberman: Well, what did girls do back then? You are either a teacher, you are a secretary, or you are a nurse. So, I was a teacher.
Arwen Becker: You didn't even become a nurse? Interesting.
Judy Hoberman: No, I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be a doctor and girls were not doctors. And so, I did become a teacher and I think all my friends became teachers and at one point, New York had too many teachers so we were all laid off. So, then I went to Wall Street and I worked in a Canadian bank and I went to apply for this position as head of accounting. The only course I didn't take in college was accounting. But I went in and I said like, and back then, of course, there weren't computers and there weren't calculators, it was really left and right, you have to balance the left to fit the right. And so, I went in. I said, "It's going to take me a little bit of time just to analyze what you have here but this is great things, and I can do this.” And so, they hired me as the head of accounting and I thought, “Oh, geez, Louise, what did I do now?” but I stayed there. And then when I was pregnant with my first child, they had offered me a seat on the stock exchange but I couldn't do it because I was pregnant and I had to leave. Yeah. So, that was my entree into anything that had to do with financial pieces, whether it was financial services or banking or whatever.
Arwen Becker: So, did you end up staying in that role then still even when you had your first child?
Judy Hoberman: No. You can't. You couldn't. No. It wasn't like they would hold a position. It wasn't like it is now. You left and if there was a position for you, great, and if not, no. And so, then I moved to Connecticut anyway so I didn't do that and I did a million other things before I went into financial services but that became my home. That became where I was supposed to be.
Arwen Becker: How did you know that it had become your home that that was what you were being drawn to? Because here, I mean, you thought as a young girl that you were going to become a doctor. That didn't end up working out and then you finally find something where you're getting offered this growth position which you couldn't take because of becoming a mom and yet how did you know that that was the place in which you wanted to stay?
Judy Hoberman: So, when I first went to apply for a job, I saw an ad in the newspaper and I'm talking about a real newspaper. And I remember calling and the secretary, she wasn't an executive assistant. We didn't have those words yet either. So, she was the secretary and she scheduled this appointment for me and it was with this man named Michael. When I got there, Michael was busy. So, they wanted me to talk to someone else and I said, “No, no, my appointment is with Michael. I'll just wait.” And she just rolled her eyes and I thought, "Oh, maybe that was the wrong thing to say,” but I didn't care. Anyway, he comes out of his office and he said, “I've got five minutes.” I'm like, "Great,” and he said, "You're just what we're looking for.” And I think at that point in my life, I needed to hear something like that, “You're just what we need,” but it really meant that we were looking for a female because there were no women.
Anyway, long story short, I go to take my tests, I failed my first insurance exam by one point, and I thought, “Oh, this is not for me.” And so, the secretary said, “Oh, just put on your big girl panties and just get over yourself and take the test again.” So, I did and I passed, but I was not really wanted there. I checked off a box. And I remember hearing all the guys say, "She's such a girl. She takes too long. She has too many questions, blah, blah, blah.” But I knew what that meant to me meant building relationships, but I hated it. I hated every part of the business. I hated everything about it. I hated in the morning when I had to bring my kids to school and drive for two hours to somebody's home or somebody's office. I hated everything about it. Once I got there, I was great but I hated going and I hated coming back. One morning, I remember looking at my kids and saying, “I really only have one job in this world and it’s to protect my family,” and this light bulb like in the cartoons when like, the neon light comes above your head, these light bulbs flashing going, “Oh, that's what your job is.”
And so, I took my kids to school that morning and I looked in the rearview mirror and I said to myself, “I have the privilege of protecting someone's family today.” And that's when it all changed. The whole thing changed. And right after that, I mean, my career just absolutely took off because I had a different mindset. I didn't think about I wasn't enough. I didn't think about I was such a girl. I didn't think about any of that. I thought, “I have a privilege and an obligation to do what I do for my family.” And that's how it all changed. Seriously, that was it, that day.
Arwen Becker: Wow. That's amazing because that says so much like what I was talking about in my intro story about what it is that we focus on. And we either are going to frame it one way and it can be framed in the negative and all the reasons that it's not going to work and I don't want to do it, and all the reasons I don't like it and focus on that. And then big surprise, we're going to get more of that or to take exactly what you did, which was just the same situation framed differently, seeing it through a different lens, and how much your life and other lives benefited from it. I mean, sometimes we do need to just remove ourselves from the situation. Reframing it is not going to make it better. It's just not where we're supposed to be. But a lot of times we can just get ourselves focused on the wrong things and start this spiral that goes down in a negative space instead of just reframing it. And I think that's brilliant. That is so good because it's just such a simple thing. Well, it's simple. It's not easy.
Judy Hoberman: No, but this industry is not hard, but it's not easy. It's the truth. I mean, you have to really want to do this and you have to learn to focus and you have to know what your position is. So, yeah, so it’s not hard, but not easy.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. But you have made it so much of your career and really being able to understand and support women in being women, being true to themselves, being able to be different than the people around them. And yet you have made it so much of your career really being able to support women in that space. So, how did you end up getting to that point where you said, "There is a huge need, and I need to go and give to women what it is that I had to fight for, for my own life and my own professional outlets and work that I was doing?” How did you get there?
Judy Hoberman: I think that part of it was as I got more successful, all of a sudden, the men needed me to talk to women to recruit women. And so, that's what I did. I really started changing the way we did things. I changed the way I would train people. I changed the way I recruited. And my team had a lot of women on it. At some point or at one point, they had asked me to go into home office and build all their training and a university and so on and so forth. So, the three agencies that I had, I had to give up. And so, I went to corporate which was great for the fact that I got to train lots of people and be with the field and they loved me and everything, but it was a very toxic environment inside. So, after a couple of years, I left and when you leave, you lose everything. When you resign, you lose. It's not like you have severance or anything. It's nothing. Everything you had is gone. But I was getting physically ill. So, finally, when they let me leave, and I say let me because they took eight weeks to take my resignation, I remember thinking, "If I was going to start all over right now, what would I have wanted?”
And what I would have wanted was someone like me, somebody who would understand me, a female that would have been able to say, “Okay. So, here comes the speed bump. You'll be fine, but you need to do X, Y, and Z,” and I never had that. And so, I got a business coach. I got my first female business coach and she and I came up with my business. And we came up with me, I was my avatar. And I was and I knew that there were women out there that were struggling, and it wasn't just struggling because they were women. It was because they weren't empowered. They weren't nurtured. They weren't allowed to do things in a way that was authentically them. And so, I started contacting insurance companies, health insurance companies, financial services, you name it. Anything that had to do with the word insurance or financial, I was knocking at doors and I said, "Here's what I do,” and I started speaking everywhere. And slowly but surely people started listening, especially when they knew that I had a background in their industry.
And I think that speaks volumes when you're trying to do something in an industry. It would be very difficult for me to go into IT and say I have an IT background because I know I don't. I can still help their females. So, that's really how it started and that was at the height of the recession, which I didn't know we had a recession at that point. And I just kept going. Do I have any speed bumps and ups and downs? Absolutely. But I learned. I learned from everything I do and I encourage people to fail because, for me, failure is not negative. It’s first attempt in learning and I believe that if you don't learn from everything you've done, good and bad, then that's a waste. That's a waste of time.
Arwen Becker: I haven't heard that, first attempt in learning.
Judy Hoberman: Yep.
Arwen Becker: That's a good one. Yeah, you're totally right. I mean, the faster you can fail, the better because you're going to have to get there one way or another. So, it can take forever and you can try and be very, very timid about it or just realize, “Oh, I guess I'm walking in the wrong direction. I should probably go this way because that's just not serving me or it's not moving the process or whatever it is that we're trying to create forward.” When I listen to you talk about it, of course, you've got nearly 10 years behind you of when you made this shift. Is that what I'm hearing about the recession?
Judy Hoberman: Yep.
Arwen Becker: That's 10 years. A lot can happen in 10 years, right? But I have to imagine the amount of times that those negative messages that you would have would still come up. how do you think now you really deal with those negative messages? Because I have to imagine after all of these years, you've become much more adept at recognizing them and then how to address them.
Judy Hoberman: Well, I think that anybody that gets any kind of negative feedback, while it's great, it really will sting right away. It just does. You know if somebody says, “Well, you are good but this part was horrible,” or whatever. It does sting for a minute. But I always ask for more feedback. I always say, "Well, so tell me what I could have done better?” Because I don't want to hear a month later, “Oh, she was here but she was terrible.” And I'll give you, for instance, I was invited to speak somewhere. This woman had heard me in one place. She brought me to another. And I asked her about the audience and she told me who it was and I didn't really understand what she was telling me. So, I said, “Okay. Male, female, just tell me the demographics.” She said it's almost all female and I still can't remember what she told me because it didn't make sense to me. So, I tried to do some detective work, couldn't get too much, but she said, "Just do the same talk you gave at this other place because it was perfect.”
Okay. Then she tells me I'm speaking at 2 to show up at 12:30 so I can get the room and I can meet the people and blah, blah, blah. I get there are 12:30. I opened up the door. It's 98% male. Okay. Now, I am feeling like, “Ohhh. What am I supposed to do? Because my talk is about women.” So, now I'm thinking, “Okay, now I have to do my tap dance and reverse everything. So, if it was women, whatever.” Anyway, so I go in, I do my talk, and you can read the room. And most of the people were thinking like, “Who is she? Like, what is she talking about?” And I knew it was really bad. I mean, really bad. And I remember thinking, I am never going to speak again. This is the worst thing I've ever done so on and so forth. This woman walks up to me. She said, “Oh my God, you were fabulous.” And I'm thinking to myself, "Were you in the same room with me? Because whatever.” Anyway, she sends me the results and they were horrible. I mean, some of them are good but most of them said that I didn't do my homework. I didn't know my audience. You should take back her speaker's fee.
Arwen Becker: Wow.
Judy Hoberman: That's how bad it was. So, I sent a note and I asked her to please distribute it to everyone and I apologized. I couldn't say she did it. I said I was not prepared and this has really never happened to me before and if there's anything I could do. And I'd like to offer everybody a one-on-one session and da, da, da, da, da. And I told my husband because I wasn't married when I first started my company, he's now my husband, and I said to him, “I'm never speaking again.” He said, “You are speaking again and you have a speaking engagement tomorrow, and it's a big one. So, you're getting out there.” That was the only reason I'm still speaking. Because I was the keynote and I had to get there and it was wonderful. But you still have that something. You still have those times where you're thinking, "Oh my God, what am I supposed to do? I'm horrible.”
Arwen Becker: Yep. And I love the fact because I had a similar experience where it was one of my first speaking events and it went terrible because I could not get out of my own head. I was so nervous. I'd been sick. You know, the teacup was shaking. They could hear it as I was up on stage. It was just terrible. And I got offstage. I had my microphone still on. I'm talking to myself in the elevator. It was just a disaster. And yet that feeling like I'm never going to do this again and then it was like in the very next thought it was like, "Too bad because you have another one scheduled tomorrow night. So, you're going to be doing it one way or another.” So, I think maybe that's part of the key is get yourself extended a little bit so when you feel like quitting, you can't because you have other people that are going to hold you accountable and you'll get past that. Because it is true. I mean, I learned from that moment too, just as much as you did and you learned a new way of that you decided, you know what, I'm going to handle it this the way that I feel it should be handled. I’m going to send a note to the people who attended to it.
And you did it in a way that was authentic to if you were talking to a friend of yours. But that's what I love that about what you've done because you are authentically you in an industry and you have very much that I've seen in my own industry, same industry, financial industry, is that it is very hard to be true to yourself when everything that you see around you is contradictory, where you're going, "But that works for all of these people and yet when I tried to do it, it doesn't work for me.” And so, what would you say for women who are in business, especially those of us who are in an industry that might be predominantly male? What are some of those pitfalls that they run into or that you see as real common issues that women have, and how do we tackle that?
Judy Hoberman: A lot of times the biggest issue is that they really don't want you there. Like, they really don't want you there because they know that you bring a different perspective. But the truth of the matter is I always counterbalance that with being a resource. What can I do for you? What is it that you need? What are you looking for? Because I might have another way of doing something. And so, I would start to like knock the walls down just a little bit and then they would let me in just a little bit, but I didn't pounce and say, “I want to be your friend or I want to do this or show me how to…” I was never that aggressive with the men. I was more of like a friendly but not a friend and I just wanted to be able to get the respect that I deserved because I gave respect. And for those that didn't give me any respect, I really didn't have much to do with them. I was very civil and very cordial like I always am but I didn't ask for anything and I didn't expect anything. So, I would just become the resource that they needed, especially when it comes to talking to women because they had no clue how to do this.
And even today, I mean, everybody thinks because you're female, you know how to talk to females and you're male, you know how to talk to male. It's not true. Communication is a very big topic. And so, even today, when I talk about the soft skills that everybody assumes are just for women, which is craziness, men will say to me, "Why aren't we taught this?" I said, "Because you have to be open to it." But he would just look around there are so many people here who can share how to be generous, how to be courageous, how to be decisive, how to be, whatever it is that you're struggling with of how to have that conversation, there's plenty of people here. You just have to know your people. And I always tell people know your people. Know who's in your space because if you don't know, how do you know that the next best person is the one that's sitting right in front of you, but you've looked right over her?
Arwen Becker: Right. And like you said, you have to be willing to ask. I mean, there is something to be said about just being tenacious. But I commend you for continuing to do it with such grace because I think there are a lot of us as women who think when the pushback comes that we just have to be stronger and push harder, and it doesn't require that. A little grace, a little finesse like you said that you stay kind and polite but it doesn't mean you back down.
Judy Hoberman: No. You know, and you can say something to people. I had a man that I worked for and he was very inappropriate and I'm not just talking about sexually, which he was disgusting, but even just the way he would speak to you, the words he would use. And I looked at him one day and I said to him, "Would you like it if somebody talked to your daughter like this?” And I knew he had a daughter and he said, “Well, you're not my daughter.” I said, "But I am someone's daughter.” And I just walked away. I just walked away. He never bothered me after that because he thought, "Maybe she's got something there.” But it's just you have to earn respect and just because you happen to have a position with a title does not mean that you earn that respect. You earned a title.
Arwen Becker: Right. Absolutely. Totally true. So, when you think back on just how much you've grown in your career and in your life, and certainly working through these messages that you got from such a little age when you're so young as a little girl, and you've come to terms with those things and you've created an amazing life that has had such, and continues to, such huge impact on so many people, what would you say would be kind of those three key takeaways that, as you look back, these are the things you go, "You know what, this is what I learned throughout that process?”
Judy Hoberman: Well, there are so many things that I've learned but the first one would go along with what I just said that you always should be generous and always should be kind. You should be generous with your time and always be kind. That's the first thing that I would always say. The second thing I would say, and especially in this day and age, you have to understand what your value is, and really what you deserve and never apologize for it. And I was doing a talk and we came up with a new mantra that said, "Charge what I'm worth and don't apologize.” Okay. And then the last one is absolutely, positively without question, you should find a great mentor. Everybody should have a mentor. You don't need to do this by yourself. It does take a village. I always have at least two, one male, one female because I like the different perspectives but find a mentor. And if you don't know how to find one, ask. Just ask someone, “Oh, I like the way you're doing this. Would you show me how?” That's how simple it is. But the statistic is that 65% of all women that have been mentored become mentors, and that is a cycle that we want to continue.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, absolutely. What did you say the second key takeaway was? I was kind of making a mental note of something.
Judy Hoberman: Don't apologize.
Arwen Becker: Don't apologize. Yeah. So, my coach and I hired a coach now almost a year ago as the first female coach that I've had and there was a definite need for me. And that was one of the things that she has been continually working with me on because she says we as women do that all the time. A lot of times men do not. They don't even for a second worry about, “Oh, is it too much? Should I not have said? Am I really not worth that?” You know, they go in and they say, "This is what my speaker fee is,” and then the period is there.
Judy Hoberman: Right. Well, and that's the truth. But the thing is that women go in when they're thinking they're negotiating; they're thinking it has to be win-lose. But if you go in as a win-win, it's a win for you because when you pay me more, I'm happy, my team is happy, my family's happy, and you're happy because you're getting the most productive person you'll ever have. So, it's win-win as opposed to win-lose.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, that's so true. And that comes back to the same thing we were talking about earlier, the reframing, and making sure that you're looking at it that way. And then the one other thing that you said on mentors, mentorship should not be an expectation. I know this happens to you.
It happens to me too, where people are like, “Oh, I just want to pick your brain. I just want to pick your brain,” but yet they haven't read things that I've written. They haven't listened to the podcast. They haven't done their research. They haven't learned what my thought process is. They haven't done their work. They just want to get the easy part whereas so much of the mentorship that you get isn't necessarily from a one-on-one individual that you necessarily have to pay for. It's that you have to go and find the already available resources of that person that you want to emulate or learn from. And like your books, go and read all three of - you have at least three books? You have more than three books?
Judy Hoberman: Four.
Arwen Becker: Four books, all four of your books, and then you'll have a pretty good idea of how Judy might answer that question. And so, a lot of people they forget that. They think that mentorship is just going and paying for somebody or a lot of people do think that they should just deserve to get it for free. And you've got to sacrifice something because if I'm sacrificing my time to give to you of the wisdom that has been hard-fought and earned in my life, you need to come some of that way too. So, I think that it's important. It's not just about paying for it. It's a great way to get the person that you want is writing a check. It's amazing how you'll actually do the work when you pay somebody for it.
Judy Hoberman: That's correct.
Arwen Becker: So, the final three rapid-fire questions. So, one, the best piece of financial wisdom that you've been given, what's that?
Judy Hoberman: The one that has always stood out for me is you'll never be this young or this healthy so invest in insurance now.
Arwen Becker: So true, so true. And then what would you say best-recommended book and why?
Judy Hoberman: Go Giver by Bob Burg. The Go Giver is all about giving, and this has my name written all over it and in fact, I would buy cartons of his books and hand them out because it's really about a young man who propelled himself into success when he understood the different laws that he needed to learn about success. It's an amazing book. It's short, it's fast, and you'll read it 10 times.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, very, very true. And then what would be your favorite quote?
Judy Hoberman: Well, it would be my own tagline which would be women want to be treated equally, not identically.
Arwen Becker: And I think that is so brilliant because it is that when I saw that I'm like, "Yes, that's exactly true. That's exactly true.” We all feel that same way. So, how can our listeners get ahold of you?
Judy Hoberman: Well, any social media platform will either have Selling In A Skirt or Judy Hoberman so whether it's Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, all of those. My website is SellingInASkirt.com. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's just really easy. Everybody remembers selling in a skirt more than they remember Judy Hoberman and I'm good with that.
Arwen Becker: And your most recent book is Walking on the Glass Floor?
Judy Hoberman: Yes. And that is all about women in leadership.
Arwen Becker: And it is such a good book. For any of you out there, I devoured this. I took it out to my cabin and Judy was so sweet. Sent me a copy of it with a little journal. And it just speaks to the heart of so many of the issues that we come up with and has these actionable items. So, it is a brilliant read. It's got some great meat in it too and it's going to give you a lot of direction as well. So, that really blessed me. I thank you for that.
Judy Hoberman: You are so welcome.
Arwen Becker: Well, my dear. It has been such a joy to me to have you on and have you in my life and I can't even imagine when you and I have even a year under our belt, where our lives will be at that point because you have just been such a blessing to me and the people that I've met through you and I've already had podcast guests that I met through, our little short period of time that we've known each other and yet, you do this for everybody. You make me feel so important and valuable and special and yet that is who you are. That is what you do to the people that you meet personally. That is what you do to the people you meet virtually. That is what your brand and everything that you're building does. So, thank you very much for just being you.
Judy Hoberman: Well, thank you so much for saying that and thank you for having me on your podcast. I am so excited for you and I can't wait to see what's going to all open up for you over the next little bit because you are on a roll.
Arwen Becker: Thank you so much. I appreciate you.
Judy Hoberman: You too.
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So very powerful! Thank you, Judy, for sharing your story! I can relate to so many things in this.